What are land searches and how long do they take?

A search is designed to protect the prospective buyer by providing information which may affect the property such as plans to build new roads, whether the highway fronting the property is public or privately owned, any planning permissions, enforcement notices, tree preservation notices or housing grants that have been claimed. The purchasers Solicitor will have those carried out prior to exchanging contracts

How long will the legal process take?

If the vendor has already vacated the property and you don’t require a mortgage, exchange of contracts and completion may only take a few weeks. If, however, you need a mortgage and the vendor is still in the property, exchange of contracts normally takes 4-6 weeks, then completion takes another 2-4 weeks — so you’re looking at around 6-10 weeks in total to complete the legal process.

  • What is Stamp Duty and will I have to pay it?
  • Stamp duty is a tax levied on the sale of property and is payable by the buyer at the point of completion. You, as the vendor, do not have to pay stamp duty on the sale of a property.( See Stamp Duty/Capital Taxes)
  • Will you accompany all viewings?
  • We believe strongly that this constitutes an important part of the service that we provide and so we will, wherever possible, accompany all viewings. If you do not wish to be present for the viewing that is not a problem as long as we have a key for access.
  • When do I need to arrange building insurance?
  • You should arrange for building insurance to take effect on exchange of contracts, since you bear the risk of loss if the property is damaged after this date — even if the vendor remains in the property. (If you need a mortgage, your lender may take care of this for you — but always check well in advance of the date contracts are exchanged.) The insurance policy should cover the estimated cost of re-building the property if it is completely destroyed (e.g., in a fire), not the current market value.
  • What happens at exchange of contracts?
  • At this stage, the purchase and sale become legally binding. Once you have authorised your solicitor to exchange contracts, they will conduct a short telephone conversation with the other party’s solicitor, agree a completion date and pay your deposit. If you withdraw from the purchase after exchange, you will lose your deposit and probably incur other financial penalties. Note also that the risk of loss in the property passes to you after exchange — thus, you should arrange building insurance well beforehand to cover against this risk.
  • Can I access the property before completion?
  • Sometimes if the vendor has already vacated the property you may be allowed access before completion. Usually this is permitted where work or repairs need to be carried out.
  • Does the vendor have to supply a BER cert?
  • Yes
  • Do I need a survey?
  • If you need a mortgage, your lender will ask you to pay for a valuation report (VR) to confirm that the property is worth the amount that you have asked to borrow. You cannot rely on this report, however, because it involves only a limited inspection of the property and it will only identify obvious defects that materially affect the value of the property. The cost of a basic mortgage valuation costs about €150 depending on the size and cost of the property.
  • For added protection, most buyers pay for a more comprehensive full structural survey to be carried out. €350 depending on the price of the house.